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South Park takes a swipe at Facebook

12 Apr 2010
Posted by Shannon

Poor Stan is dragged reluctantly into Facebook. I know the feeling.Poor Stan is dragged reluctantly into Facebook. I know the feeling.

 

In another era, there used to be a joke that when Time magazine featured a hot new trend on its cover, that was the signal it was over. Now a South Park episode is the sign of a brand about to be mocked into decline, and Facebook just got the treatment.

Gawker offers the highlights of Episode 14, this week’s offering in Canada, which outlines Everything Annoying about Facebook. It's a satisfyingly long list for satirists.

The crude cartoon with the sophisticated ideas appeals to a relatively small audience:  well-educated, young, and politically-aware but apolitical, so it’s not surprising they’ve taken aim at the playground of the middle aged. Demographic research shows that the youth audience was already bailing on Facebook as it becomes a haven for people over 35 who are anxious to use it for marketing and other businesses applications.

Facebook is also a big hit with the sort of woman who used to scrapboo -- those moms and grandmothers who want to keep track of their families. That’s another reason the under-30s are either giving it a miss or hiding under pseudonyms:  to foil both the rellies and the potential employers who are trying to snoop on their publicly-conducted private lives.

Facebook recently proposed privacy changes, which would again have them handing out their users private data to third parties without the users permission. That too is being met with overwhelming criticism from individuals and countries alike. To date, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland have all weighed-in with privacy concerns. 

South Park has tapped into a rich well of annoyance in the 400 million users: mainstream media are reporting the episode has gone viral.